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Cleaning polluted air with moss


A modular moss panel that removes PM from the air

BESIX Group, the largest Belgian multidisciplinary construction group, joins the battle against air pollution in urban environments. Academic research indicates a high potential for natural moss to remove PM (particulate matter) from polluted air. BESIX Group contacted Achilles to work out a solution that takes advantage of this promising natural phenomenon. A modular system consisting of active panels was conceived which can be installed on wall next to congested roads, tunnel exits, construction sites,…
After testing a variety of irrigation and ventilation principles, Achilles Design created the system layout, designed the product and engineered the complete system. For a pilot project, several panel modules were assembled in-house and installed at a construction site in Leiden.
System architecture

Creating the optimal climate for the moss.

Only if the moss is kept in good shape, its full air-filtering potential can be unlocked. Elaborate experimenting and testing identified the optimal substrate, irrigation and ventilation. During this process Achilles Design converted the academic knowledge into a practical biosystem solution.

Building a system around the moss

The overall system architecture has a major impact, not only regarding the product cost but also with respect to performance, the ease of maintenance, modularity, durability, etc. That’s why we systematically considered different approaches of subsystem decentralization, component layouts and materialization.
Pilot project

Bringing ideas to a real life situation.

Quite early in the development, we had the opportunity to build an actual first pilot project in Leiden. The short timeframe forced us to make quick decisions and immediately bring ideas to reality, combining off-the-shelf solutions with a first production batch.
Digital design

Natural moss with IoT technology

The moss wall is packed with sensors to monitor all relevant parameters: the humidity of the moss, the PM concentration of incoming (= polluted) and outgoing (= filtered) air, temperature, etc. Through an online platform, we were able to manage irrigation and ventilation regimes and monitor the effect on the performance of the moss wall.
The result
The first pilot project with 45m² of moss is up and running. Close monitoring of the moss itself and the measurement of PM concentration will provide us with valuable information to optimize the design for future industrial upscaling. This project was subsidized by the Brussels-Capital Region Innoviris.


Triggering office-wide trend buzz by redesigning the reporting style


Turning factual research results into a broadly appealing report

Creating an information-dense, easy to understand reporting style for trends that invites everyone to start reading.
Colruyt Group has asked our support in creating a trend reporting style that will encourage staff to repeatedly consult and value the content. The reporting style must become a way to get people within the Group energized and inspired when talking about trends. That’s all to trigger new internal innovation projects.

Understanding the theory to create visual clarity

The trend research team at Colruyt Group works hard on creating high-quality content, and the true value of this content should reach as many colleagues as possible in an engaging way. That’s why our graphic designers firstly had to profoundly understand the trend watching methodology that Colruyt Group applies. Our graphic designers then translate this methodology into clear illustrations that make it easy for generalists to gain a deep insight on the way how certain facts relate to certain trends.

In a digital age, don’t underestimate the power of print

A high-quality, inviting-to-read printed book that lies around the office is key to the success of this project. The physical presence of these books makes all people within the organization aware of the importance of inspiring and relevant trends for the Group. After a casual read, people can continue reading digitally, but it is actually also important to have it printed such that trend watching gets a positive presence across the office.
The idea is to regularly publish new trend reports – both updates on the same topic and on new topics. The new reports will all be built on the same graphic template to streamline and speed up the publishing process.

Lay-out that breathes relevance for the Group

Typefaces, illustration styles and the color palette all fit the style of Colruyt Group because the document needed to breathe relevance for the Group. We used a composition of white space and photography very consciously to make all content feel generally understandable. Graphic elements were given distinct colors; shapes and sizes to facilitate navigation through the document and illustrations are highly informative while remaining simple enough for the report to keep the reading experience light.
The result
Because the content is conveyed in such a pleasant and appealing way, more people get enthusiastic about current trends, leading to more engagement towards innovation. The goal is to now keep on creating new trend reports through the same engaging reporting language as the first report we did for Colruyt Group.
Thank you for reworking the trend report! We’re all very enthusiastic about it! Fresh and positive design, really invites to read! Top!

Fiona Ketele

Trendwatcher for Colruyt Group


Designing a 24/7 store concept


A store that fits the life of busy people, 24/7

Creating a retail concept, targeted at young people who live in or commute through city centers, that supports unplanned shopping missions and facilitates having tasty and balanced meals for the next 24 hours. In 2015, Colruyt Group approached us to develop an idea that was launched by a visionary employee. After helping with tuning the briefing, the challenge was to create a concept that would strengthen the position of the retailer in city centers, to attract new audience and provide an answer to changing shopper motivations, habits and preferences, such as seeking 24/7 instant fulfilment.
We designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. Other than that, we also did the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for interior and functional furniture and an app concept.

Getting the briefing right

We helped in developing the initial idea by exploring and generating the mission and vision of the retail concept, analyzing and defining its target audience and stakeholders, and finally translating it into challenges that had to be solved.

Designing an identity

Developing a strong identity is a cornerstone in delivering new commercial concepts, as it should immediately reflect what value the consumer can expect. To facilitate conceptualization of services, products, architecture and interiors, we first created an identity that matched the lifestyle of the audience. After interviewing and analyzing how the target audience chooses to spend their time to shop and to dine, we envisioned experiences in storyboards that explained the newly designed journeys. From these service scenarios, we designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. We designed the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for the interior and furniture and an app concept.

Familiarizing stakeholders with the concept

Prior to discussing the concept, we needed to enable stakeholders to quickly empathize with the target audience. With short presentation slots in mind, a short movie depicting the lives of the target audience was created. The journeys and different concepts were illustrated in detail to make sure the experience was communicated well. To make sure the visceral elements such as light & color recipes were simulated realistically, we built a miniature physical model with working lighting and service details.

A store that adapts it’s experience to the time of day

The retail concept is a small convenience store that blurs the lines between retail and gastronomy, and will be located near busy places, such as railway stations or city centers. It will be open 24/7. We chose to build an identity around ‘appearance recipes’: adapting the total experience to the time of day by changing the lighting, color, store interior & lay-out and assortment and really convey the atmosphere of mornings, lunches, dinner and nighttime consumption.
Visitors of the store who are looking for a quick solution can significantly reduce the hassle of choice and their time in-store by picking from a central “moments-counter”: a piece of furniture that has an assortment for each moment during the day. The counter will be re-oriented during the day, so that a relevant offer is always in the closest proximity of the checkout. Reorienting the counter will also change the appearance of the store: the total experience is altered by a change in lighting, messages displayed on the screens, such as weather forecast that day or local evening events to attend, etc..
The assortment is organized around these times with emphasis on facilitating choice and reducing time in preparation without compromising quality. To be able to pull this off, common items are supplemented with a private label. For each moment, there are ready to heat/eat items as well as inspirational menus with curated self-serve ingredient counters. To be able to match the lifestyle of the target audience, digital services and an app integrate into the experience by providing features that support the journeys: messaging about products, reserving breakfast pick-ups, notifying about new menu’s that match food preferences of couples and groups, offering traffic and commuting insights, etc.
The result
The result is an integral convenience store concept that matches with the busy lives of its target audiences, integrates the digital realm and offers relief for those who have trouble in holding on to routine in shopping, deciding what to eat today or tomorrow, or need something in a moment’s notice.